The annual canvass
During August we send a household enquiry form (HEF) to every household in Newham to find out if the information on the electoral register is up to date.
The form has the Government's 'Your vote matters, don't lose it' logo printed on the envelope.
It is a chance for you tell us if:
- someone has moved out
- someone has moved in
- someone's details have changed
- no one at the property is eligible to register
- the property is empty.
You must respond to the form, even if all the details for your household are correct. The form will tell you how to do this. It will also include a security code in case you decide to respond online, by text or by phone.
If your name is not on the form, you can use the Government's register to vote
service, however you must also complete the household enquiry form. If you don't, we will send you reminders until you fill it in.
Register to vote (or update your details)
Until 2014, the head of the household was responsible for registering everyone who lived at their address. However under a new system introduced by the Government, you must register as an individual.
- get on the electoral register
- change your details (your name or address)
Make sure you have your National Insurance number to hand.
Why you should register to vote
- The electoral register is used by credit reference agencies to check your name and address if you are applying for credit.
- If your name is not on the register, you may not be able to get credit, a mortgage or a mobile phone contract.
- Schools may use the electoral register to check that you live within the their catchment area.
- We may check the register when you request a resident’s parking permit.
- It is a criminal offence to refuse to complete the registration form or to give false information, carrying a fine of up to £1,000.
Who can register to vote
You can register to vote if you are 16 years of age and over, resident in the UK and you are:
- a UK citizen
- a qualifying Commonwealth citizen
- a citizen of the Irish Republic
- a citizen of the European Union (EU)
- not legally excluded from voting.
If you are a citizen of an EU country other than the Republic of Ireland, Malta and Cyprus you are not entitled to vote in UK parliamentary elections, but you are eligible to vote in European parliamentary, local council and mayoral, London Assembly and London mayoral elections.
Expatriate UK citizens
If you are living outside the UK, you may register to vote in UK and European parliamentary elections for up to 15 years since you were last registered on the electoral register at a UK address or as a service elector.
The electoral register
The electoral register is a list of everyone who is entitled to vote.
We make and keep two versions of the borough’s register of electors – a full version and an edited version.
The full version of the electoral register lists everyone who is
entitled to vote. By law, it can only be used for electoral purposes,
prevention and detection of crime and checking your identity when you
apply for credit. It is a criminal offence to pass it on to anyone else
or to use it for any other purpose.
Edited or open register
The edited version of the register leaves out the names and
addresses of people who have asked to be excluded from it. It is
available for sale and can be used by anyone for any purpose. For
example, direct mailing companies may use it to send you information
about goods and services.
Removing your details from the public register
You can choose not to have your details on the open register. You
should mark your preference when you apply to register to vote.
When we update the electoral register
Between January and September we update the electoral register with any changes on the first working day of the month. This allows you to tell us that your details have changed
throughout the year.
Between September and December we close the register while we hold our annual review. We publish the revised electoral register on 1 December.
Inspecting the electoral register
You can inspect the full version of the register at Stratford library
Stores and Archives. To book a one-hour appointment, telephone 020 3373 6881.
You may take handwritten notes but you are not allowed to photocopy pages of the register.
Petitions for a referendum
You can petition us if you would like us to hold a referendum on changing the way Newham is governed (from a directly elected Mayor to a committee system).
Your petition must be signed by at least 5 per cent of those registered to vote in local government elections in the borough. This means that petitions presented between 1 April 2016 and 31 March 2017 will need to have a minimum of 9,337 signatures.
We review the number of signatures needed on 15 February each year in line with the number of people in the electoral register (to make sure that it corresponds with 5 per cent of local government electors).
If the number of signatures needed on 15 February 2016 is less than 9,337, the lower number will come into effect as soon as we publish it rather than waiting until 1 April 2016.